Assemblyman Magnarelli with veterans

Bill Magnarelli
is fighting for
those who fight
to protect us

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli

Bill Magnarelli

333 East Washington Street, Room 840
Syracuse, New York 13202

MERIT Plan supports troops and their families

The brave soldiers who selflessly risk their lives deserve all the help we can provide. As a member of the Assembly’s Veterans Committee, Magnarelli helped pass the Military Enhanced Recognition, Incentive, and Tribute (MERIT)/Patriot Plan to provide New York’s service members with a smooth peacetime transition, take care of their families, and boost morale (Ch. 106 of 2003).

Taking care of soldiers’ families

When our soldiers are away from home in a combat environment, they leave behind spouses, children and parents who worry constantly about their safety. Magnarelli’s legislation will make it easier on families with loved ones on active duty by:

  • requiring at least one library in every county to designate a computer so family members can correspond
  • directing the Division of Military and Naval Affairs to negotiate bulk telephone service rates and provide teleconferencing facilities
  • allowing students to remain in the same school district if a parent in the service is temporarily relocated

In the tragic event of a war casualty, Magnarelli’s measure provides up to $6,000 for funeral costs for each New Yorker killed in combat.

Providing veterans and their families with a quality education

Magnarelli’s plan provides four years of free tuition and room and board to any SUNY or CUNY undergraduate school or an equal amount to attend any other college or university in New York for the children, spouses and dependents of New Yorkers killed or severely disabled in the line of duty after August 2, 1990.

The package also protects soldiers who have to suspend their education, allowing them to retain credits, standings or scholarships.

Ensuring our troops return to good-paying jobs

During this time of economic uncertainty, we must help our military personnel find meaningful work upon their return to civilian life.

The Assembly’s legislation:

  • provides formal recognition of the skills and training acquired while in the military
  • extends the certification period for emergency medical technicians on active duty;
  • waives continuing professional education requirements while on active duty; and
  • automatically extends professional licenses.

Helping veterans deal with important health issues

To address the physical and psychological health issues arising from combat, the MERIT/Patriot Plan establishes a hotline to provide information on the Persian Gulf Syndrome, Agent Orange, Hepatitis C and other war-related illnesses, and provides information regarding health care providers and treatment centers with expertise in illnesses associated with military duty.

Improving returning soldiers’ quality of life

Magnarelli’s MERIT/Patriot Plan protects the wallets of soldiers on active duty by: imposing a cap on installment loan interest; extending eviction protections; allowing the termination of car leases without penalty; extending mortgage foreclosure protections; and providing free hunting and fishing licenses.


Helping our veterans get their high school diplomas

Operation Recognition was created to recognize the dedication and sacrifice of World War II and Korean War veterans who left school before graduation by awarding them with a high school diploma. The experiences and skills learned in the defense of freedom have given veterans unique knowledge and special insight most could never attain. This diploma reflects our pride and gratitude for their sacrifice and bravery.

To participate, veterans need only present one of the following as proof of service:

  • DD Form 214 (Report of Separation)
  • Certificate of Service (Honorably served)
  • Certificate of Release or Discharge from Department of Defense (Merchant Marines)
  • Letter from a recognized veterans’ agency affirming such service

Candidates that possess a High School Equivalency (GED) diploma and can provide proof of service are eligible for the program. Diplomas may be awarded to next of kin if eligibility is established.

**Click Here for a Printable View**

Please print and return to:
Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli
333 East Washington Street, Room 840
Syracuse, New York 13202

I wish to receive my high school diploma in recognition of my duty during World War II or the Korean War.



Phone number:

Name and address of high school attended.